BIG RAPIDS – Michigan is a state rich in Native American history. November, designated as Native American Heritage Month (NAHM), is a platform for the Ferris State University and local communities to learn more about that culture.
Ferris’ Office of Multicultural Student Services and the 2010 Native American Heritage Month Planning Committee have collaborated to host events designed to educate people about issues related to Native Americans in Michigan. Tuesday, Nov. 9, former chair of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Aaron Payment will be a guest speaker on “Issues Facing Native Americans in Michigan.” Payment’s presentation is set for 6 p.m. in College of Business Room 111. The corridor in IRC will house a Native American artwork exhibit Nov. 9 through 11 called “The Canadian Collection.” Finally, Native American Heritage Month activities conclude with a Dreamcatchers Workshop on Nov. 23 in the Rankin Student Center lobby.
“This year with Native American Heritage Month we took the approach of exploring new and different things from what we’ve done in the past to engage our campus and to educate about Native American culture,” said Michael Wade, OMSS assistant director. “Overall, we have a few events that will allow our students, faculty and staff to learn more about Native American culture.”
“The Canadian Collection” includes prints created by Native American artists from the Great Lakes region, including Brian Marion, Carl Beam, Rebecca Beard, Russell Noganosh, Richard Bedwash and Michael Cywink.
“Displaying The Canadian Collection is an opportunity to spotlight and learn more about Native American art that has been donated to the institution and housed in the Rankin Art Gallery,” Wade said. “Most of the artists showcased in this collection are from the Great Lakes region.”
The Dreamcatchers Workshop is co-sponsored by Entertainment Unlimited. The workshop will be facilitated by Yvette Pitawanakwat of the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture and Lifeways in Mount Pleasant. According to Wade, the Dreamcatchers Workshop will be an interactive event designed to educate about the history of dreamcatchers and to allow participants to create their own dreamcatchers.
All events are free and open to the public. Anyone with questions about NAHM events can contact OMSS at (231) 591-2617.